NC State Graduate Lost the Mysterious 4Gen iPhone

April, 19, 2010, by Jedidiah

NC State Graduate Lost the Mysterious 4Gen iPhone
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If you haven’t heard, Apple lost a 4th Generation iPhone prototype a few weeks ago (March 18) and over the past weekend the blogosphere went wild over speculation that it had been found. The phone is predicted to be revealed in June. Engadget posted some photos of the device (which were debunked but then reinstated as real) and earlier today, Gizmodo revealed that they have had the device for a week. The tech blog posted lots of photos, videos and a detailed description of the phone on its blog today (see all of that here). A prototype product has never leaked from Apple like this and therefore the internet has been abuzz all day about how it got out of Apple’s hands.

Not even 12 hours after Gizmodo posted the photos of the phone, the backstory has started to to unravel and it seems that the person who lost the phone is an Apple Software Engineer and 2006 graduate of NC State named Gray Powell. Powell was in a bar Redwood City, CA and seems to have left the phone on the bar stool.

You can read the full story here. Gray just got his 15 minutes of fame, but they weren’t the ones he was expecting I’m sure.

Also one last thing that hasn’t been discussed is how Gizmodo got the phone. Still a question Gizmodo needs to answer. Andy Ihnatko has a great detailed story about this today on his blog.

UPDATE: Gizmodo bought the phone for $5,000. or more.

UPDATE 2 (4/20/10): It seems that a few people, including John Gruber championing the cause, think that the phone may have been stolen at some point and not lost. The phone did, at some point, belong to Gray Powell as his Facebook account was originally logged in on the phone (or so the person who had the phone says). There’s probably a lot more to this story than we may ever know.

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  • smitty
    04/19 11:35 PM

    I am so proud of our alumni.  First Gibbs, and now this guy!  Go State!

  • Kevin
    04/19 11:35 PM

    Ah Gray, nice work.

  • Abby
    04/19 11:48 PM

    You know, this isn’t a massive mistake. I know. I know. It’s a 4G iPhone. It’s a big deal right now, but it will pass. How many of us have lost keys or a cell phone at one time or another. It was remotely killed, so only the hardware got seen, not the innards.

    “This guy” is a good guy who loves Raleigh and really missed living here when he moved away. He’s not a bumbling idiot, nor are we sure he had too many beers that night. It’s possible, but there’s no data saying that he did. I’ve certainly misplaced all kinds of things while completely sober.

    Gray has lots of friends here in Raleigh, and he’s a nice guy who loves it here. Don’t talk about him like he’s an irresponsible lush. He got hired at Apple, right? And don’t tell me you haven’t been out for beers in the last week.

    Sure, he screwed up, but it sounds like Apple isn’t firing him. There’s really no need to be so disrespectful and tacky, now, is there?

  • Lisa Jeffries
    04/19 11:55 PM

    Wouldn’t there be some sort of negative implications for Gizmodo for posting content like that?

  • Steve Jobs
    04/20 02:41 AM

    RIP Gray Powell. The end is near.

  • geoff gann
    04/20 09:28 AM

    I was in Poole’s on a Friday night and struck up conversation with this kid next to me getting hammered, obviously celebrating something. Seems he was going out west to work for a huge software company. He and his friends were SO excited. As I recall, this kid’s name was Gray, or something like that. Oh yea, Gray Powell. And now that you mention it he WAS heading out to work for Apple. I guess I’ll be seeing him at Poole’s soon, celebrating his home-coming.

  • Vince
    04/20 10:48 AM

    This State alum has nothing on John Tesh.

  • aburtch
    04/20 03:04 PM

    I still think the entire thing is Apple’s attempt at guerrilla marketing.  No accident…PR stunt.

  • smitty
    04/20 03:48 PM

    I forgot about John Tesh.  Wasn’t he Bill Leslie’s roommate?

    Can’t forget about John Edwards either.

  • WW
    04/20 04:32 PM

    Gray is a good guy and a great friend. He made a mistake that I’ve made multiple times. I agree with Abby, it could’ve just as easily happened at breakfast or lunch somewhere. It doesn’t mean he was out of control and irresponsible. Gray is a strong, positive person that will get through this and find a way to become better because of it. Here’s hoping it all works out for the best for you Gray.

    Everyone else needs to go find someone else to hate on…

  • Abby
    04/20 04:45 PM

    Preach it. He’s a seriously sweet guy, people. A real friendly guy and a big fan of Raleigh. I know it won’t make a difference, but I’ll still ask: Please stop. I know he’s “in hiding” right now and won’t be reading all this stuff, but just because it’s the right thing to do. Hate elsewhere on someone who did something evil - not on someone who made a mistake similar to the kinds of mistakes a lot of us make all the time.

  • Morgan Hannan
    04/20 06:21 PM

    I am a friend of Gray Powell.  Period.  This was not a PR stunt, and Apple was his dream job.  Gray is not an idiot.  Gray is not a lush.  Gray is a good guy, out having some beer with a friend.  How many of us have left our credit cards at the bar?  How many times have we left our phones somewhere? 

    It happens.  So, lets give him a break.  We are the people who he grew to know and love before he went to San Fran, and we are the people who need to support him right now.

  • Ivory
    04/21 11:39 AM

    As nice of a guy as he may be, the fact remains that he LEFT A 4G APPLE IPHONE AT SOME RANDOM BAR IN REDWOOD CITY. Seriously? I used to work in Redwood City, it’s teeming with tech companies and industry ppl who would kill to get their hands on this.

    It was a very costly mistake on Gray’s part (unfortunately) and I’m pretty sure Apple won’t be so forgiving simply because he’s an awesome dude. I wish it wasn’t the case though.

  • Brian
    04/21 03:59 PM

    I’m sure Gray’s a nice guy and all, but that doesn’t change the fact that he did something incredibly stupid.  I know we’ve all left our phone somewhere, but how many of us have had a phone that’s the most sought piece of consumer technology in the world?  Leaving it at the bar when fully aware of its value doesn’t make him a bad person, but it does leave him open for perfectly legitimate lampooning.  Save the cries of “HE’S JUST A BOY” for a kid who deserves them.

  • Scuba
    04/21 04:49 PM

    Ivory- you obviously missed the entire point.

    Brian- Go to Hell

  • Ivory
    04/21 04:59 PM

    The point is that this employee lost a very important product which cost his company a lot of trouble. There’s nothing wrong with criticizing irresponsible behavior. I don’t think I missed anything.

  • Brian
    04/21 10:09 PM

    Go to hell?  Why is this personal?  I don’t know this kid from Adam, and as I said I don’t think a moment of irresponsibility is a comment on his character, as well all have such moments.  I don’t agree with any personal attacks on Mr. Powell’s character as a result of this incident, but the fact remains leaving an unconscionably valuable piece of corporate property is incredibly irresponsible.  Any criticism of Mr. Powell’s behavior that relates directly to this event is fair.

  • julz
    04/28 08:36 PM

    gray is an awesome dude. Everyone loses their phone, big deal.

    keep rockin’ gray. We miss you here in nc.

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